Written by the Morbid Play Staff 27th December 2015
Overall 2015 has shaped up to be a massive improvement over last year’s gaming haul, we’ve had plenty of big names finally release and some awesome projects get announced. But we’ve also had some big disappointments and let’s not get started on some awful money grab attempts. So here we are again with the Morbid Play staff’s Best and Worst Video Games of 2015.
So many great games have come out in 2015, including two entries into series that hold positions in my list of favourite games ever (Fallout and Metal Gear Solid). Yet I find myself unable to say that Fallout 4 or MGS5 are the game of the year. I didn't participate in the Kickstarter, so for me Undertale really came out of nowhere. Perhaps that's why it beats out the others so easily – it was a pleasant surprise rather than a game I looked forward to, but fully anticipated (correctly) to be worse than it's predecessors. Undertale manages to pull off a mixture between a bullet hell game with an RPG, but the important distinction is that no one needs to die. Ever. The difficulty of the Genocide run almost feels like it's warning you to not continue, and the lovable characters are genuinely difficult to kill, not for lack of ability to do so – but because I REALLY didn't want to. I didn't review Undertale, because by the time I got around to it everyone and their Doggo had played Undertale. I've never given something a 10/10, and I don't think I ever will because I believe no game is perfect. I also don't often foray into the .5 territory, but I really don't think a 9 is enough for Undertale. So let's just say, it's as close to a 10 as it can get.
Worst game of the year is a much harder proposal for me. I didn't play too many games in 2015, and most of them were excellent. In fact, the games I rated worst in reviews this year were tied between Battle Fantasia and Castle in the Darkness, both of which I don't feel merit a worst game of the year by any means. Even Battle Fantasia escapes the chopping block of my well-
For me 2015 has been a year of big sequels that haven’t delivered in the way I really wanted. The biggest one that comes to mind is Metal Gear Solid V which built on the foundations placed by Metal Gear Solid: Peacewalker and took the series to a new frontier. Even though I have more than a few issues with it’s story and style it’s still easily one of the most fun and dynamic open world games I’ve played in a while and easily clinches my game of the year vote. It managed to take a series that prided itself on it’s carefully crafted linear levels and launched it into an open world that reacted to how you played. It offered a myriad of options when it came to the series trademark infiltration gameplay without losing it’s core identity which is an amazing feat considering how different it is from it’s predecessors. The most important thing though is that it’s just plain fun, knocking out a soldier and sending them skywards to recruit into your army is always satisfying and there’s always something new to try and discover like being able to use your handy cardboard box as a sled to whiz down a sand dune.
The story was a bit disappointing as a long time MGS fan with a twist that I personally found pretty stupid and I felt like it was missing some of the signature weirdness that made the older games standout. There’s also some questionable content that's hard to keep Quiet about but overall it still kept my attention like no other game this year, it’s a game that everyone should play and other developers should take notes from gameplay wise.
While it may not be the worst game I’ve played this year Fallout 4 was definitely the most disappointing. Having played an incredibly large amount of Fallout 3 and even more of Fallout: New Vegas I was extremely hyped to get my hands on Fallout 4. When I finally sat down and played it I constantly felt like it was missing something and after the credits rolled after 50 hours of gameplay I came away feeling unsatisfied with the whole thing.
The biggest issue I have with Fallout 4 is the streamlining of the speech system. They took a leaf from Bioware's book this time with the way conversations work by offering three kinds of responses (nice, mean and sarcastic) to everything that make very little difference to how a conversation plays out.
This is a far cry from how the past games handled it where there was a much bigger emphasis on role playing for conversation options such as NPCs treating a player with low intelligence like an idiot or being able to fix a robot because you have a high science skill.
I loved those speech checks because they actually made a difference to how a quest would play out and made you feel like your character was a new unique person. I found repeat playthroughs of Fallout 4 dull because no matter what you say or do most quests just play out the exact same way, I understand that this is mainly because your character is fully voiced with a predetermined background and motivation but the reason I loved the past Fallouts was because it was always a new experience every time you played. While it’s by no means a bad game it was just a big letdown for me as a role playing game, it just lacked the replayability that the others had.
Well this year’s certainly been a pleasant surprise for gaming with AAA’s releasing on the market left, right and centre topped off with amazing indie surprises so much that thinking of a worst has actually been difficult this time, not from the vast amount of choices but lack thereof.
This year there have been a ludicrous number of almost perfect titles to spoil me this year, there were some of the obvious titles that we figured would be good like Fallout 4, Metal Gear Solid V and Killing Floor 2 but of course the indie market has worked her magic for me on more than one occasion.
Honestly I felt like I should hand my choice of best game of 2015 to the obvious options but as much as Metal Gear Solid V and Witcher 3 were stellar titles, hell I even found some fighting games I enjoyed past single player like Guilty Gear Xrd and Rivals of Aether.
But much like Undertale for Bad Demoman, Assault Android Cactus deserves credit for a truly enjoyable experience that wasn’t a huge scale financially backed project. There was no hype to grab me, no screenshots and trailers to trick my decision making. Instead there was just a fantastic twinstick shooter with personality, fun as hell gameplay and a kick ass soundtrack to keep me playing as I try to achieve that mythical S+ rank for each level. I haven’t cared so much about a scoreboard in ages (if ever), but AAC’s addictive blend allows for plenty of replay value that rewards the player for practice and only gets better when you hook up more controllers for your buddies to tag along in the chaos, (so long as I get to go Aubergine).
Thankfully there haven’t been many notable abominations to crawl their way out of the woodwork this ye-
I had almost forgot that Atari attempted to slip something most foul onto the Steam market and straight into the bowls of Metacritic’s 20 or less ratings.
Jokes on you Alone in the Dark: Illumination.
Just when I thought I could sleep soundly I woke up from a fever dream where images of your piss poor excuse for a game came rushing back like a bad hangover.
Illumination as a reboot for the series can be best compared to that first scene in Fullmetal Alchemist; the characters fail to bring back their loved one and instead lay their eyes on a shambling corpse with soulless eyes. No Alone in the Dark, there is not a single redeeming factor, not your hideous visuals, not your crap sound design, nor your poor gimmicks and lazy storytelling.
Now back to the pits of hell with you while I recover from remembering your existence.
Another year another best and worst video games;
but what were you choices?
Drop us a comment on your best and worst video games of 2015.